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Stationery Embroiled in MPs’ Expenses Claims Scandal

By on May 18, 2009 in Office Supplies

A large chunk of our elected representatives are, it seems, rotten to the core, devoid of any ethical nous. Even nice, moral Menzies Campbell paid a top interior designer ten grand to do up his London flat. Essential refurbishments included a flat screen plasma TV, scatter cushions and Roman blinds. In the context of morally objectionable claims like those of Campbell and Hogg, excessive claims for stationery expenses may seem a bit pedestrian. But two abuses of Commons’ stationery demonstrate a particular disregard for Parliamentary gravitas.

The first involves Luton South MP Margaret Moran (Lab). Already disgraced for renovating three homes (including her partner house), she allegedly used Commons stationery to warn people not to park near a property of hers in Spain. The distinctive headed Paper also apparently warned people not to trespass on her land. Further (again allegedly), she used public money to hire media lawyers when the accusations came to light.

The second concerns health minister Ann Keen who has earned the nickname of “Mrs Expenses”. This London MP (Brentford and Isleworth, Lab) used parliamentary stationery for mail shots relating to non-Commons matters like inviting voters to a tea and coffee morning to discuss a local park and update on Heathrow’s third runway. She has now reimbursed the £4,583 cost of the letters after a complaint to the parliamentary ombudsman by a constituent.

There is no official limit on how much stationery an MP can use. However, it must be used for strictly parliamentary purposes such as non-party political correspondence to constituents.

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